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Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, May 7th.

The titles below are discussed in the Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

FRAGILE by Lisa Unger
THE ANGEL'S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
SOUTH OF BROAD by Pat Conroy
MY FATHER'S TEARS by John Updike
CRAZY FOR THE STORM by Norman Ollestad
PERFECTION by Julie Metz
ANNIE'S GHOSTS by Steve Luxenberg
THE LION by Nelson DeMille
61 HOURS by Lee Child

Reviews and Excerpts
INNOCENT by Scott Turow (Legal Thriller)
The sequel to the genre-defining, landmark bestseller PRESUMED INNOCENT, INNOCENT continues the story of Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto, who are --- once again, 20 years later --- pitted against each other in a riveting psychological match after the mysterious death of Rusty's wife. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.
- Click here to read an excerpt from INNOCENT.

THE LONELY POLYGAMIST by Brady Udall (Fiction)
Brady Udall explores marriage times four in THE LONELY POLYGAMIST, this year’s first candidate for entry into the Great American Novel pantheon. Beautifully written, keenly observed and ultimately redemptive, Udall’s second novel is an unforgettable story of an American family --- with its inevitable dysfunctionality, heartbreak and comedy --- pushed to its outer limits. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE LONELY POLYGAMIST.

EVANGELINE by Ben Farmer
(Historical Fiction)
Inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem of the same name, EVANGELINE is a brilliant debut novel by Ben Farmer. As the British drive the French out of mid-18th-century Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia), two lovers are separated on the eve of their wedding. They desperately search for each other during the course of 10 years across the landscape of pre-Revolutionary America. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.
- Click here to read an excerpt from EVANGELINE.

INDIVISIBLE by Kristen Heitzmann (Psychological Suspense)
Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town. With never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers --- and his fragile sobriety. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from INDIVISIBLE.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL by David Baldacci (Thriller)
Some people really deserve to die, but they get lucky and go undetected. Now two groups, unaware of each other, want to catch a man who murdered hundreds of people under the Nazi regime. They are also frighteningly unaware of how dangerous he is --- but they’re about to find out, in a little town in Provence. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

(Historical Fiction)
From the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlors of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century, Isabel Allende’s latest novel introduces yet another unforgettable woman --- a slave and concubine determined to claim her own destiny against impossible odds. Reviewed by Jana Sicilano.

THE RED THREAD by Ann Hood (Fiction)
In this deeply moving novel, Maya Lange nurses her guilt about her past role in a devastating tragedy while running an adoption agency connecting parents with baby girls from China. The stories of the prospective parents intertwine with the histories of the babies, which makes for a gripping read. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

PLAY DEAD by Ryan Brown (Supernatural Thriller)
Ryan Brown’s compulsively readable first novel is a darkly humorous, rich and pungent zombie shocker that melds our national obsession with football and the newest wave of fascination with the undead. Boundlessly imaginative and thrillingly satisfying, PLAY DEAD gives small-town Texas an electrifying jolt of the supernatural. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read Sandra and Ryan Brown’s blog post, “A Thrill for Writing Runs in the Family.”

THE BURYING PLACE by Brian Freeman (Thriller)
In the quiet town of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a baby vanishes from her bedroom in an opulent lakeside home. Was she abducted --- or does her father have a terrible secret to hide? That same night, a young policewoman gets lost in the fog and stumbles into the middle of a horrific crime. Now a sadistic killer wants her to play his deadly game. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE THIRD RAIL by Michael Harvey (Thriller)
On a snow-swept Chicago morning, a woman is executed on a crowded train platform. After witnessing the murder, private eye and former Chicago police officer Michael Kelly chases the killer into an alleyway. The hunter becomes the hunted as Kelly is drawn into a web of cover-ups, danger and intrigue. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

GRINGO NIGHTMARE: A Young American Framed for Murder in Nicaragua by Eric Volz (Memoir)
When Eric Volz’s former girlfriend was cruelly murdered in Nicaragua in 2006, he was many miles distant from the crime scene. He rushed there to be with her family --- only to find himself inexplicably fingered as the killer. Plunged into a maelstrom of official corruption, political maneuvering and open anti-Americanism, Volz had to endure cruel treatment in Nicaragua’s hellhole prisons before he was freed through a concerted effort by friends and associates. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

SCENT OF THE MISSING: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog by Susannah Charleson (Memoir)
When Susannah Charleson, a volunteer on a search and rescue (SAR) team, decides to pair up with Golden Retriever puppy Puzzle, she embarks on a fascinating journey. Whether she is discussing training, SAR from a dog's perspective, the science behind the art, personal stories or search tales, this gorgeously written account is an enlightening page-turner. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

A DOG FOR ALL SEASONS: A Memoir by Patti Sherlock (Memoir)
Patti Sherlock and her family lived on a working sheep ranch in Idaho. When they acquired a frisky Border collie pup for Patti's birthday, it was intended that the new addition would become a working dog. Duncan really earned his place on the ranch by keeping track of the sheep and herding them. This energetic and irrepressible canine also became Patti's loyal companion for the next 16 years --- years that brought many changes. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

Author Interview
Kristen Heitzmann’s Joe Hartlaub recently spoke with Kristen Heitzmann --- bestselling author of such novels as SECRETS, A RUSH OF WINGS, FREEFALL and the Rocky Mountain Legacy series. In this interview, Heitzmann discusses the character-driven elements of her latest thriller, INDIVISIBLE, and explains what constantly draws her to create “broken” characters. She also elaborates on the recurring theme of forgiveness found in much of her work, describes how she makes time to write despite her bustling family life, and talks a bit about INDIVISIBLE’s follow-up novel, INDELIBLE.

Feature Article
Scott Turow
Though having written nearly a dozen novels, Scott Turow is best known for his 1987 debut, PRESUMED INNOCENT, which climbed bestseller lists, spawned a hit movie starring Harrison Ford and paved the way for legal thriller authors like John Grisham. Twenty-three years later, Turow continues Rusty Sabich’s story in the long-awaited follow-up, INNOCENT. In this feature article, which originally appeared on, author Elizabeth Benedict sheds light on the impact of the release of PRESUMED INNOCENT years ago and interviews Turow on the lengthy gap between the novels, as well as the challenges he faced in writing such a highly anticipated sequel.

Books into Movies
Love is in the air this May, as the sweet romantic drama
Letters to Juliet hits theaters on May 14th. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal and Vanessa Redgrave, this heartwarming, feel-good film promises to bring out the romantic in all of us as a young woman plays matchmaker to a pair of lovers separated 50 years previous, all the while finding a special someone of her own.

And if that doesn’t satisfy your cravings for sentimental love stories, you can also catch Seyfried in
Dear John, out on DVD this month, along with the inspiring Extraordinary Measures, the post-apocalyptic epic The Road, and the Oscar-nominated Invictus.

New in Paperback

May’s roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a breathtaking adventure about the perilous nature of obsession, in literature and in love; SOUTH OF BROAD, Pat Conroy’s first novel in 15 years, which centers on a tightly knit group of high school outsiders who must face something none of them are prepared for; MY FATHER’S TEARS, the late John Updike’s first collection of new short fiction since the year 2000; A CHANGE IN ALTITUDE, in which Anita Shreve illuminates the inner landscape of a couple, the irrevocable impact of tragedy, and the elusive nature of forgiveness; and BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Jennifer Weiner, a story about betrayal and loyalty, family history and small-town secrets.

Among our nonfiction highlights are CRAZY FOR THE STORM, in which Norman Ollestad chronicles his story of survival after a plane crash in the mountains leaves him the sole survivor at the age of 11, while giving credit entirely to his adventure-loving father's unusual parenting style; PERFECTION, a memoir that focuses on Julie Metz’s difficult journey of acceptance and moving forward after she discovers painful truths about her marriage following her husband's unexpected death; and ANNIE’S GHOSTS, which recounts Steve Luxenberg's search for the aunt he never knew he had.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
BODILY HARM by Robert Dugoni
In his return as “the lawyer who does not lose,” David Sloane is on the verge of another victory, but something about the malpractice case has bothered him from the start. His uneasiness grows when toy designer Kyle Horgan confronts him on the way to the verdict to claim responsibility not only for the child’s death, but also for the fate of a second young boy in central Washington.
- Click here to read an excerpt from BODILY HARM.
- Click here to read Robert Dugoni's bio.
- Click here to see Robert Dugoni's backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for BODILY HARM.
- Click here to read more about BODILY HARM.
- Click here to read Robert Dugoni's Mother's Day Blog.

THE KILLING ROOM by John Manning
Old houses have their secrets. The Young residence --- a beautiful Maine mansion overlooking the Atlantic--is no exception. But the secrets here are different. Carolyn Cartwright, private detective and ex-FBI agent, has been hired by Howard Young to investigate a string of gruesome family deaths. The crimes are horrific, brutal, and senseless. One-by-one, members of the Young family are chosen to die. Old and young, weak and strong, no one is safe from a killer with a limitless thirst for revenge. And the only way for Carolyn to uncover the shocking truth is to enter the room no one has ever left alive.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE KILLING ROOM.
- Click here to read John Manning's bio.
- Click here to see John Manning's backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for THE KILLING ROOM.
- Click here to read more about THE KILLING ROOM.

FLIGHT OF SHADOWS by Sigmund Brouwer
She escaped the religious enclave of Appalachia. But peace and freedom are even further out of reach for Caitlyn as the myriad dangers pursuing her threaten to crush her last shred of hope. Will she ever discover the truth of her origin? A lightning-fast chase through an all-too-plausible future, bestselling author Sigmund Brouwer is at his best in this terrifying ride into the heart of compelling moral questions about science and society.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from FLIGHT OF SHADOWS.

Historical Romance Author Spotlight
As the sole remaining heir to the Earl of Daventry, Alexander Randall knows his duty: find a wife and sire a son of his own. The perfect bride for a man in his position would be a biddable young girl of good breeding. But the woman who haunts his imagination is Julia Bancroft --- a village midwife with a dark secret that thrusts her into Randall's protection.
- Click here to read an excerpt from NEVER LESS THAN A LADY.
- Click here to read Mary Jo Putney's bio.
- Click here to see Mary Jo Putney's backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for NEVER LESS THAN A LADY.
- Click here to read more about NEVER LESS THAN A LADY.

Montgomery de Piaget attracts responsibilities like blossoms lure bees. Where other knights have bonny brides, laughing children and noble quests, he has the task of rebuilding the most dilapidated castle in all of England. A bit of magic might aid him --- if only he still believed in that sort of thing. When Pippa Alexander is invited to England to provide costumes for an upscale party, she jumps at the chance to showcase her own line of fairytale-inspired designs. Not that she believes in fairy tales, or magic that whispers along the hallways of an honest-to-goodness medieval castle… But the castle is full of more than cobwebs, and danger lurks in unexpected places.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from ONE ENCHANTED EVENING.

One To Watch Author Spotlight
MISS YOU MOST OF ALL by Elizabeth Bass
Sassy Spinster Farm is a place to find solace. At least, that's what it's become since Rue Anderson and her sister Laura transformed their childhood Texas homestead into a successful tourist destination. It's where guests flock to get their hands dirty and taste food fresh from the garden. And it's where Rue is raising her preteen daughter on her own--while trying to keep her outspoken sister in check. It's not easy, but together, it seems there's nothing the two can't handle--until an unexpected, and not entirely welcome guest shows up in the middle of one warm summer night.
- Click here to read an excerpt from MISS YOU MOST OF ALL.
- Click here to read Elizabeth Bass's bio.
- Click here to read critical praise for MISS YOU MOST OF ALL.
- Click here to read more about MISS YOU MOST OF ALL.

Women's Fiction Author Spotlight
Tully Sullivan is just like any other suburban mom --- unless you count the days every year that she zones out and turns base metals into gold. Those are weird. And now she’s woken up in a strange place surrounded by strange people who keep insisting that they’re dragons --- and that she’s one, too. But not just any dragon. She’s Ysolde de Bouchier, a famed figure from dragon history.
- Click here to read an excerpt from LOVE IN THE TIME OF DRAGONS.
- Click here to read Katie MacAlister's bio.
- Click here to see Katie MacAlister's backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for LOVE IN THE TIME OF DRAGONS.
- Click here to read more about LOVE IN THE TIME OF DRAGONS.

Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie --- a boy who has never known his father. Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from HEART OF THE MATTER.

Historical Fiction Author Spotlight
BY FIRE, BY WATER by Mitchell James Kaplan
Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. Santángel is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him a target of the brutal Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel takes retribution into his own hands, simultaneously growing ever closer to a beautiful Jewish silversmith, Judith Migdal.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from BY FIRE, BY WATER.

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